Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will extend the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), with details to follow in the days ahead.
The CERB is due to run out soon for people who have been on the benefit since it was first launched in April, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
People can only claim the benefit for 16 weeks — four eligibility periods — and the end of the program’s fourth eligibility period is early July.
“We’re working on a solution to extend the benefit for people who can’t return to work yet,” Trudeau said.
“We’ll have more details this week, but for today, I want you to know that we’ll continue to be there for you and your family.”
While more than eight million Canadians have applied for the relief benefit during this economic slowdown, the take-up for the wage subsidy program — which floats government funds to employers to keep employees on the payroll — has been considerably lower.
The government cut its projected budget for the wage subsidy for the 12-week period between April and June from $73 billion to $45 billion. As of June 8, the program has paid out only $10.5 billion in wage subsidies.